The emergence of the dreaded MBRs (Multi-Bye-Rounds) in 2012 was, for the most part a frightful twist in the story that was AFL Dream Team this season. Whilst a small number of coaches escaped the period with little carnage and few donuts, the large majority would be very happy to simply erase those 3 weeks of their Dream Team coaching careers from their memories forever (much like poor Brett Ratten would like to do the same for that ominous week last month).
The preseason was rife with speculation, theorising and stress as to just how we could safely navigate those chaotic few rounds. The main thing it meant was that we were effectively restricted to a maximum of 2-3 premium players (per position) from each MBR so as to not cop too many donuts in any given week. However despite careful planning and strategic selections – in some cases, this all counted for squat. Now, with many astute coaches already pre-planning for their 2013 assaults on the Dream Team competition – I thought I’d have a look at what kind of carnage we may be faced with in 2013.
After looking at the way each team was allocated a R11, 12 or 13 bye round in 2012 – it got me thinking about 2013 and whether the AFL will employ a similar strategy for its season. Keeping a few important things in mind to ensure there is ‘equality’ amongst these rounds with a fair amount of high-performing teams playing in any given week, I came up with the following:
Looking at the above table, I’ve colour-coded the teams as per their 2011 position that has what I believe to have been taken forward to help create an even spread across the three rounds for the 2012 season.
This saw teams 4, 9, 10, 14, 15 and the new franchise GWS pooled into Round 11 in what was what I would consider the ‘softest’ draw with only 1 x top 8 team included.
Round 12 had teams 1, 2, 7, 8, 11 and 13 sit out – with Collingwood, Geelong, Sydney and Essendon being the most DT relevant teams grouped up.
Finally, in what was arguably the most difficult for DT coaches, teams 3, 5, 6, 12, 16 and 17 all had the week off in Round 13 and gave us many headaches in our Forward and Backlines.
Looking Forward to 2013
Using the same structure from 2012, I carried it forward to see what we might be looking at for the upcoming season. With a very different looking final ladder from 2011 and 3 different finalists (Freo, North and Adelaide replaced Carlton, St Kilda and Essendon in the 8), the same system would create a very different mix of teams across the byes whilst still maintaining a good spread of exciting clashes during each round.
By this way of thinking, in 2013 we could see the following occur:
Round 11 would see the following teams synced up: Collingwood, St Kilda, Carlton, Port, Bulldogs and GWS. This would see popular picks like Swan, Beams and Pendles missing the same week as Murphy, Gibbs, Hayes, Boyd and Ebert.
Round 12 could then see these teams sharing a week off: Hawks, Crows, Freo, North, Essendon and Brisbane. This would mean that Buddy, Danger, Thompson, Barlow, Pav, Watson and the RedRockBerger combo would all be out at the same time.
Finally, Round 13 would have these teams pooled together: Sydney, West Coast, Geelong, Richmond, Melbourne and Gold Coast – which means, JPK, LeCras, Stevie J, Chapman, Jelwood, Cotchin, Martin, Lids and Gablett would all be in the stands together.
Whilst looking at the initial lists it seems like a bit of a train wreck waiting to happen, but in my opinion it may actually work out better than 2012. With less major DT teams pooled together (think Hawthorn, Carlton and Richmond this year), this model would see (in my opinion) an easier road to selection for our upcoming season. Another thing of note is that from an AFL point of view, there would be at least one team from every state playing in any given round with Port and Adelaide; Brisbane and Gold Coast; GWS and Sydney; and Freo and West Coast all pooled in a different week.
One thing is for sure: whatever happens when the official AFL Fixture for Season 2013 is released late October, it will have a big impact on who we select in our sides for next year.
What do you think? Would this be preferable to 2012’s pools of teams? Do you have any theories on how the AFL will choose the teams and byes? Let us know in the comments below and go forth in discussing your thoughts. Also, check out my possible team to work in the byes for Season 2013 below.
Until a later date,